a1 Michigan State University
a2 Florida State University
Black Americans are less likely to participate in politics than white Americans are, but many studies argue that low levels of black participation result solely from racial differences in socioeconomic status. Analyses of the 1964, 1976, 1978, and 1980 SRC-CPS election surveys show that racial differences in reported turnout are greatly reduced or even reversed when controls for region and level of education are introduced. However, substantially different results obtain when turnout is measured by the SRC-CPS voter validation studies in which local registration and voting records are used to measure individual-level participation: the zero-order differences in turnout are larger, and controls for region and level of education only moderately reduce these differences. Analyses of the voter validation data suggest that blacks are less likely to vote than similarly situated whites.